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Volume 24 No. 114
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Fox Tops Sunday's NFL Ratings Behind 49er-Saints; NBC Sees Jump Despite Blowout

Fox drew the highest ratings of the NFL weekend with its national coverage of 49ers-Saints in the late-afternoon window. The game, which went to 93% of the country, earned a 16.5 overnight Nielsen rating, up 5.8% from a 15.6 for the comparable Patriots-Eagles game on CBS last year. NBC earned a 13.5 overnight for the Giants' 38-10 rout over the Packers, and despite the fact it was not a competitive game, the presence of two cornerstone NFL teams helped the net see a 8% jump over last year's Steelers-Chiefs game. CBS drew a 10.5 for its single-window coverage, down 10.3% from Fox' comparable '11 coverage (THE DAILY).

THANKSGIVING FEAST: CBS led all Thanksgiving NFL telecasts with a 15.2 overnight rating for the Texans' 34-31 OT win over the Lions in the early afternoon window. That figure marks CBS’ second-best Thanksgiving game since reacquiring NFL rights prior to the ’98 season. Only the 15.3 rating for last year's Dolphins-Cowboys has been higher for CBS. In the late afternoon slot, Fox earned a 14.5 overnight for the Redskins-Cowboys matchup, down 8% from a 15.8 overnight for Packers-Lions in the early window last year. In primetime, NBC earned an 11.5 overnight for its first Thanksgiving NFL game, which saw the Patriots blowout the Jets 49-19. The telecast, which began at 8:30pm ET, peaked at a 12.7 rating in the 9:00pm window. The game was the No. 1 program of the night and gave NBC a win (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In Houston, David Barron noted Thursday's Texans-Lions game earned a 26.5 rating on KHOU-CBS, which "produces an average audience of about 587,000 of Houston’s 2.2 million households." That ranks "fifth among Texans ratings this season behind the three prime time games and the game against the Broncos" (, 11/23).

% +/-
CBS Dolphins-Cowboys
Fox Packers-Lions
n/a n/a
CBS (single)
Fox (single)
Fox (regional)
CBS (regional)
Fox 49ers-Saints (93%)
CBS Patriots-Eagles (72%)
NBC Packers-Giants
NBC Steelers-Chiefs

THE PEACOCK STRUT: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote while the Jets trailed the Patriots 35-0 in the second quarter on Thursday night, NBC's Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth "turned in one of their finest performances of the season." Michaels and Collinsworth "didn't hold out false, phony hope the Jets could mount a comeback." If anything, they were "up front, kiddingly, about their mission." At one point, Michaels "said, in a self-deprecating tone, they would do just about anything 'to hold the audience.'" Raissman: "NBC's stuff was creative, entertaining too" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/25). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes of Michaels and Collinsworth, "There is no finer broadcasting team in the NFL." Even in "bad games, these two are a joy to listen to." When the Patriots scored 21 points in the second quarter, Collinsworth "didn't blow his chance to be the strongest analyst in the NFL" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/26). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote, "For all the forced, foolish and often glamor-minded cuts for 'reports' from football sidelines, NBC on Thursday night proved they can be quick, useful and smartly presented." NBC in the third quarter of Patriots-Jets "threw it to Michelle Tafoya for a sideline report -- off camera." It was "just good reporting." And with "no good reason to leave the view of the field, we didn't" (N.Y. POST, 11/25).

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote CBS "hit a new low in its coverage" of yesterday's Ravens-Chargers game, and that is "really saying something for this sorry outfit." CBS "literally missed the opening kickoff." Zurawik: "And so it went all day with the CBS Sports College of Clown Coverage." CBS' Dan Fouts "reached another new low," as he "proved to be a worse analyst than Dan Dierdorf" (, 11/25).

WELCOME BACK: ESPN's Mike Ditka returned to the net's "Sunday NFL Countdown" pregame show after missing the previous week due to a minor stroke. ESPN’s Chris Berman said, “We’re glad to see the coach back with us. Coach, you look marvelous. Feeling good?” Ditka: “I’m glad to see myself back. I feel good, I really do. I’m very lucky, but wake up calls, you know?” Berman added, “You made a lot of people feel good out there just seeing you right here” (“Sunday NFL Countdown,” ESPN, 11/25).